The presence of spontaneous nature in urban-industrial spaces allows a new type of landscape to emerge that is to be further designed. The decline of former heavy industries, however, stands in the way of the development of a new landscape. The history of these landscapes can be interpreted as a story of decline. Acceptance of this decline poses the threat that valuable industrial structures of historic preservation value may be lost.
Huse (1997) sees the central message of these historic industrial sites as the expression of the triumph and decline of industry, its earlier subjugation of nature and its current powerlessness. Industrial architecture, according to Huse, was normally constructed to be used for one to two generations; constant change through ongoing rebuilding was characteristic of its use. This dynamism continues under new circumstances, namely as decay, after the use has been abandoned. What would represent a need for quick action to a preservation-oriented historic preservationist, is, for Huse, an expression of the aura of a historic object and worthy of conservation. Correspondingly he positions himself as opposed to conservational approaches and concludes that historic preservation in urban-industrial areas is only conceivable as a process-oriented action (ibid, p 88).
Every conservational strategy would quickly come up against its limits, so that only a concept of controlled decline would be conceivable. This, however, currently has no scientific foundation (ibid, p 89ff). A process – oriented historic preservation of this kind would ideally complement a process-oriented nature conservation. The starting point for this lies in the historic preservation theory of Riegl, one of the most significant theoreti
cians in the field, whose work is relevant here above all in view of the relationship between historic preservation and nature conservation (cf. Morsch 1998, p 94).